Thursday, February 22, 2024

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Kaczyński withdraws from Polish election debate. Tusk declares, “I will participate.”


Poland’s unofficial leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, has centered his reelection campaign around attacking his main opponent, Donald Tusk. However, when given the chance to confront the liberal opposition leader on live TV, the head of the Law and Justice party (PiS) backed out.

Representatives from all the major political parties were invited to participate in a televised debate on TVP, Poland’s primary state-owned channel. This would have been the only opportunity for the longstanding opponents to debate before the October 15 election, in which Kaczyński’s conservative party is aiming for a third consecutive term.

Kaczyński has stated that he will not be able to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

Despite the channel’s tendency to align with the PiS party, they have decided to move the debate from prime time to an earlier evening slot. The leader of the Civic Platform has confirmed that he will still participate.

“I pray that Mr. Kaczyński is able to hear me,” Tusk stated to his supporters during a rally on Thursday.

“Jarosław Kaczyński, perhaps you have the bravery to at least appear on television, accompanied by your associates, and engage in a debate with me. I will be present on TV at 6 p.m.”

Out of town

Instead, Kaczyński has decided to miss the event due to conflicting schedules. Instead, he will be sending Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as his representative.

“On Thursday, the 70-year-old leader of PiS stated that there is a pre-arranged meeting in Przysucha to address the safety of the rural area. Przysucha is a small town located 100 kilometers away from Warsaw.”

Which option should be selected? Should I engage with a dishonest individual, particularly one who relies heavily on others, you know who… Ultimately, I opted for Przysucha.

Both Tusk and Kaczyński are divisive individuals, but while the former has the ability to draw large crowds, the latter is known for his lack of charm and appeal. His rallies typically only attract tens of thousands of attendees and are primarily made up of the most dedicated supporters of the PiS.

As the opposition groups gain ground against PiS in the polls, it is crucial for the conservative party to avoid any embarrassing mistakes. However, with Kaczyński at the helm, known for his tendency to stray off topic and speak without a prepared script, there is no certainty of avoiding such mishaps.

Broadcasted debates have the power to determine the success or failure of political aspirations, particularly in Poland.

Tusk and Kaczyński are controversial individuals. However, while Tusk has the ability to draw large crowds, Kaczyński is known for his lack of charm and appeal.

In 2007, Tusk and Kaczyński had their last televised encounter, during which the PiS was first in power. Kaczyński did not have a successful outcome, as Tusk’s Civic Platform was victorious in the parliamentary election and he was appointed as the new prime minister, replacing Kaczyński.

In 1988, the opposition leader and future President Lech Wałęsa, along with his anti-communist Solidarity movement, gained significant support following a televised debate where he was pitted against a pro-government union leader. The debate was recognized even by members of the communist government as a key factor in the country’s first democratic elections the following year.

During the 2015 presidential election, Bronisław Komorowski, the current president and a member of Civic Platform, attempted to increase his likelihood of winning by participating in a debate with Andrzej Duda of PiS before the second round of voting.

Komorowski failed the debate, leading to Duda becoming president and remaining in office since then.

The Poll of Polls for the National Parliamentary Elections in Poland.

To access additional polling information from various European countries, check out POLITICO’s Poll of Polls.